Artificial ‘mini-lungs’ grown in a lab allow scientists to watch how the coronavirus infects human cells in ‘major breakthrough’

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Tiny artificial lungs grown in a lab from adult stem cells have allowed scientists to watch how coronavirus infects the lungs in a new ‘major breakthrough’.

Researchers from Duke University and Cambridge University produced artificial lungs in two independent and separate studies to examine the spread of Covid-19.

  • Researchers took stem cells and had them grow into cells found in the lungs
  • They then had them produce 3D models of the lung cells Covid-19 infects
  • They can use their new models to track the spread of the deadly virus in lungs
  • It’s hoped doing so will allow them to develop new drugs to help treat the virus

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The major discoveries that could transform the world in the next decade

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Here’s what scientists are really excited about.

The last decade ushered in some truly revolutionary advances in science, from the discovery of the Higgs boson to the use of CRISPR for Sci-Fi esque gene editing. But what are some of the biggest breakthroughs still to come? Live Science asked several experts in their field what discoveries, techniques and developments they’re most excited to see emerge in the 2020s.

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Robots can grow humanoid mini-organs from stem cells faster and better than people

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Automated robots now have the tools to grow imitation, simplified human organs out of stem cells. Thankfully, we weren’t transported to a sci-fi dystopia where the machines have risen up and started to farm humans, but rather a world where pharmaceutical and other biomedical research just became much easier and faster.

Give these robots some pluripotent stem cells (stem cells that can become any type of cell), and 21 days later they’ll have finished a complicated experiment testing out the effects of a drug or genetic manipulation on some human-like, lab-grown kidneys. According to research published yesterday, May 17, in Cell: Stem Cell, the process is much faster and more reliable than when humans grow the same mini-organs.

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